As an incoming legislator, addressing our infrastructure is a top priority, which means I spend significant time talking with folks about which roads and bridges need to be improved. West Reserve, arguably Kalispell's most congested roadway, tops the list most days.
However, fixing West Reserve Drive comes with a big price tag, which is well outside the state's annual budget. That's why the City of Kalispell and the Montana Department, along with community partners such as the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, teamed up to submit for several grants.
As part of the grant application, in May 2022, the City coordinated a delegation to travel to Washington DC and advocate on behalf of the project. As the immediate past chair of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, I was privileged to join the delegation. The team, comprised of public servants and community leaders, met with Montana's Congressional Delegation and leadership at the United States Department of Transportation.
On December 16, Kalispell received welcome news in the form of a $25 million dollar grant that will be used to upgrade West Reserve Drive from Whitefish Stage to Highway 93. The project, most recently estimated at $33 million, will widen West Reserve Drive from two lanes to four with a center turn lane and improve the intersection of West Reserve and Whitefish Stage Drive. This is a tremendous win for our community and a step toward ensuring you can get where you need to go safely and efficiently. A huge effort was made from the ground here in Kalispell; thanks are also absolutely due to our congressional delegation who helped ensure the success of this effort.
When we work together, great things happen.
Let’s do this! ~Courtenay
Check out this video from the Fall of 2021 outlining Courtenay's focus on infrastructure. Curious about what practical steps Courtenay is taking (in addition to advocacy such as her work on the West Reserve Drive delegation)? Check out her original post, which provides more information about her background in infrastructure and what Courtenay is working on to bring improvements to our roads and bridges.